On Tuesday, abolitionists in Ann Arbor, Michigan, interrupted a “peace and love” unity march with Ann Arbor police chief Michael Cox and mayor Christopher Taylor. As the police stopped making their speeches and started marching, abolitionists positioned at the first street corner cut off their path, unfurling a street-wide banner that read “AURA ROSSER—BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
Aura Rosser was an artist who loved to cook, and she was murdered by Ann Arbor police officer David Ried on the night of November 9, 2014. Officer Ried fired his gun at Aura within minutes of entering her apartment, immediately killing her. Instead of being fired, he was defended by the police, the media, and the liberal Ann Arbor political establishment. Mayor Taylor assured us that Aura’s murder was not a “tragedy of racism.” Three years later David Ried was promoted to the rank of Sergeant within the AAPD.
After interrupting the path of Tuesday’s cop march, abolitionists invited those marching with the police to join them. The chief of police and the mayor stood there totally befuddled as the Ann Arbor bubble popped on their face. But soon enough, as they have done before, they walked past our Black comrade denouncing the murder of Aura by AAPD and kept to their predictable path. But hundreds of people chose not to follow.
Now with greater numbers the abolitionists marched to the anticipated endpoint of the cop march, and when the dwindling cop march arrived they had no platform to speak from. The cops and those that defend them were booed off their own march. The crowd pointed to them and chanted “Woop! woop! that’s the sound of the police!” A six-year-old screamed into the mic “Black lives matter! Police don’t belong here!” to kick off an hour-long people’s platform on the impacts of racialized state violence. From the mouth of the megaphone, BIPOC voices and others filled the air with plots and excitement and rage.
Finally, the abolitionist march returned to the same Ann Arbor police headquarters they marched to in 2014. “How do you spell murder? A-A-P-D!” they chanted, and “No justice! No peace! Abolish the police!” On the walls and windows of the so-called Ann Arbor “Justice Center” (which joins together the police headquarters and city hall) they left their mark, reminding the cops and the city officials that here we still remember Aura Rosser. And we don’t march with cops.